Sat, 29 Nov 2003

An idea of a general

Bad credit always makes a country to suffer loss. To close moribund companies will only lead to an even more terrible social impacts.

The problem is what we have to do about such companies? A normative answer to such a question is that a best possible way should be sought to save those companies from utter bankruptcy.

Another answer is that the government has to inject a new credit to keep those companies survive but the country does not have a lot of fund to do that.

Then, we become entangled in a vicious circle. We come to a situation in which one problem causes another problem which then makes the first problem even worse.

Let's take an example of the Indonesian aircraft manufacturing company, PT Dirgantara Indonesia. Due to its loss of about Rp 7,253 trillion, the company's management has decided to reduce its employees from 9,300 to 3,400 people.

Another example is the Texmaco Group. The ailing private company is saddled with debts of Rp 27 trillion, Rp 18 trillion of which was channeled by the government to the company's engineering division.

In fact, with its technological capability at the engineering division, the Texmaco Group can be turned into a defense firm producing military equipment such as cannon, tanks and armored vehicles, in addition to producing trucks and buses.

Such an idea did not come from an economist, but came from a general.

It was the Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto who admitted on Thursday that he had made a suggestion to the government to turn Texmaco into a defense industry.

Although the idea from the general could invite a controversy, the government has to take it into a serious consideration.

-- Media Indonesia, Jakarta